[Coral-List] Artificial reef - cement or metallic /w electrical stimulation?

Walt Smith walt at waltsmith.com
Thu Jul 6 15:29:04 EDT 2017

Bula Philippe,
I met Tom Goreau in (about) 2005 and he was interested in our work on coral
farming in Fiji that we had been doing since 1998. He visited our farms and
had a talk with my manager, at the time, and convinced him that we needed to
try his experiment on several of our racks (that were made from rebar) and
judge the results. I was in the States at that time but we managed to meet
face to face at LAX when I was on my way back to Fiji and he was arriving.
We crossed paths at the airport and the talks were so interesting I almost
missed my plane.
Anyway, we eagerly set up a battery charger on the beach at one of the
resorts we had an ecotourism installation. At this resort (Hideaway) the
tourist could walk out and view the coral farms and chose a piece of coral
to plant in the "Coral Garden" next to the farm. 
The cables that ran from the beach to the racks were several hundred meters
long and started from dry land to protect the charger from weather and ran
across the beach and across the reef flat to the racks. Despite the fact
that it was a slight hazard (tripping over cables) we did notice a slight
difference between the racks connected to the charge and those that were
not. What we noticed was some calcification build up on the rebar closest to
the connection point but no significant difference in coral growth from one
rack to the other. We ran the experiment for about 2 years and although
there was something definitely going on with calcium build up I could not
actually see the corals benefiting from the available electrical current
compared to those without it.
It all makes perfect sense, electrical current attracting calcium which
corals need to build on, and perhaps I needed to make some adjustments to my
test but my observations hold true to my account above.
Today we continue to successfully grow coral at a huge rate (we have 9 farm
sites with over 60,000+ pieces growing) and have been able to identify the
quickest growing species along with some surprises on some species we did
not expect to do as well as they did.
We no longer use the electrical currents but I also would like to know if
someone else has had a similar experience or better success with this
method. Dr. Goreau certainly is enthusiastic about his method and in my view
anything that keeps people thinking of new and positive methods to increase
the state of our coral reefs and learn more is always a step in the right
Walt Smith 

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Philippe
Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2017 11:24 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Artificial reef - cement or metallic /w electrical

Hi all,

I've been looking at some artificial reef projects, specifically in the UAE.
Reef balls seem to be quite popular. A friend recently told me about
increasing growth and survival rate by applying a small electrical current
(I'd never heard of this before). I read the paper (Goreau, T.J. 2014) and
it seems very promising. I wondered why this wasn't more well known??
Perhaps it's too expensive for people to set up?

Does anyone here have any experience working with such a project or can give
some insight on the pros and cons of this innovative method?

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